Archive for January, 2009

Wireless sensors for smart buildings

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

NRC (National Research Council Canada) has launched an ambitious multidisciplinary project to develop and link arrays of indoor environment sensors in order to help improve a building’s environmental health, energy efficiency and maintenance, as well as the general comfort of its occupants.

Today, building sensors can be used to detect a wide variety of environmental conditions such as carbon dioxide, temperature, light levels, noise levels and occupancy rates. Such data could then be collated centrally where “some intelligence is applied” to decide whether it’s necessary to change operational settings, says Dr. Guy Newsham, who leads the lighting group at the NRC Institute for Research in Construction (NRC-IRC) in Ottawa. “Signals would then be sent to actuators within the building systems to adjust an airflow rate, temperature or light level in ways that are better for office workers and management, and increase energy efficiency,” he explains.

Source: WSN Blog

AT&Ts Telehealth Wirelessly Monitors Patient Health

Sunday, January 18th, 2009




Doctors’ offices may soon become much less crowded. AT&T is developing a software tool and networking platform that will use wireless devices to record a patient’s health measurements at home and send the data to the doctor. AT&T’s system runs on both Wi-Fi — enabling videoconferencing — and a second wireless technology named ZigBee, which receives data from medical sensors. ZigBee consumes considerably less power than Wi-Fi, so monitoring devices, including thermometers, pill dispensers, blood-pressure monitors, and pulse oximeters, can use small batteries to transmit data over long periods of time.

Home-based monitoring services like AT&T’s — which is approaching the trial stage — could transform how doctors interact with their patients. “The health-care industry is under a lot of stress,” says Bob Miller, executive director of AT&T’s communications-technology research department, “so there’s a drive to explore ways of delivering better care at lower cost.” And greater convenience for both doctor and patient: If a physician notices, for instance, that a blood-pressure medication isn’t working, or if the patient isn’t taking the drugs regularly, she’ll be able to arrange a videoconference with the patient to discuss solutions.

Source: Fast Company

11 great green ideas

Sunday, January 11th, 2009



Entrepreneurs are risking their money to develop everything from hybrid vehicles to home solar-panel systems. Here are some of the best concepts.

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Source: CNN Money

TeleNav Launches GPS Vehicle Tracker with AT&T

Saturday, January 10th, 2009



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TeleNav announced that AT&T has added TeleNav Vehicle Tracker to its portfolio of enterprise mobility services.

TeleNav Vehicle Tracker is a GPS-enabled device that is hard-wired or embedded onto a vehicle for monitoring and managing fleet operations. Once installed, TeleNav Vehicle Tracker powers up and is active without requiring any additional driver interaction or resources.

TeleNav says its Vehicle Tracker is accompanied by TeleNav’s password-protected and Web-based management console. Managers can log onto the site and view the location of each vehicle in the fleet.

TeleNav Vehicle Tracker is available immediately on AT&T’s wireless network. The TeleNav Vehicle Tracker device is $399, with a monthly service charge of about $34 per device (additional taxes and fees apply) with a qualified AT&T data plan and TeleNav Vehicle Tracker service plan rates. Customers also pay a one-time setup fee of $19.99 per unit and an $18 data plan activation fee. Volume pricing may be available.

Source: Wireless Week

What Every RF Engineer Should Know: ZigBee

Saturday, January 10th, 2009

Looks like Zigbee still has some time before taking off… “From a revenue standpoint, the volume of metering applications should remain limited to field trials in 2009 with a larger production ramp in 2010”

ZigBee is a hot topic on the RF DesignLine, so I had a virtual “sit down” with some leaders in the industry to see where the technology is, and where they think it is going. The following article includes some of the thoughts and remarks of Emmanuel Sambuis, marketing manager for TI’s Low Power RF products; Jeff Miller, Product Manager, Tanner EDA; and Ravi Sharma, Director of Marketing for Ember.

After the interview, I’ve included some links to some of the most popular ZigBee articles on the site.

RFDL: What is the status of the technology? Sharma: ZigBee has matured into a robust and reliable standard and has become the wireless technology of choice for the utilities in implementing smart metering for demand response and energy management as well as in home automation, monitoring and security. ZigBee shipments in the past two years have been in the millions, in applications including in-home displays, light, climate and media controls, smart meters and home security to name a few. The ZigBee Alliance now boasts a membership in excess of 300 companies from around the world.

Source: RFDesignline

Track the sun for home lighting

Sunday, January 4th, 2009

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Have a room in your house that really could benefit from some sunlight? Build a Suntrack to reflect light in as long as possible. The two axis motor set up is built from a couple of  satellite dish positioning motors with the control electronics removed. The whole thing is controlled with a PIC 18f2520.  Once calibrated, it will reflect the sun into your room, updating every twenty seconds. While this may not be the most efficient way of lighting a room, it is a cool way to do it if you absolutely must have sunlight. We can’t help but wonder if there would be a way of using a solar powered system to do this to save energy. Could this possibly be done using BEAMhead” circuit?

Source: Hacked Gadgets

One Key House solution opens all the doors to your house

Sunday, January 4th, 2009



Imagine having just one key to open all the doors to your house and shed and gates. Imagine the convenience of using one key. Now you can experience this with the One Key House solution from Mul-T-Lock – the solution that ends the need to carry separate keys.

The Garrison security range covers rim cylinders, euro cylinders and padlocks and is available in polished brass and nickel satin finishes. All products are fully serviceable.

The high security performance products are suitable for applications in the home and office. Each product has a key identification card which contains the combination for the lock and the unique code for the key.

A locksmith can cut the original key, and not copies of the original.

The unique and versatile 7 pin locking mechanism offers the flexibility to create convenient locking solutions without compromise to security, providing the reassurance and secure lifestyle you need to confidently go about your daily life.

Source: Surveillance News Portal

Looks, Google Android Netbooks on Their Way!

Sunday, January 4th, 2009

Google is planning to use Android for any device — not just the mobile phones. Don’t be surprised if netbooks will come pre-installed with Google’s Linux OS.

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The guys from VentureBeat.com compiled Android for a netbook. The netbook was fully up & running on it, with nearly all of the necessary hardware including graphics, sound & 3G card for internet.

Here’s an extract of the VentureBeat.com article about installing Android on a Netbook:

The fact that various OHA partners have already developed Android enough to easily work on our netbook may be considered evidence enough that Google is getting increasing buy-in from industry players to realize this vision. We found two additional indicators that technology is being developed in this direction.

For one, we discovered that Android already has two product “policies” in its code. Product policies are operating system directions aimed at specific uses. The two policies are for 1) phones and 2) mobile internet devices, or MID for short. MID is Intel’s name for ‘mobile internet devices,’ which include devices like the Asus netbook we got Android running on.

The context for our finding can be found here. The important line is this one:
PRODUCT_POLICY
android.policy_phone
android.policy_mid

Another indicator for a coming Android netbook is that Intel already had the right drivers for MID chips in place. You can view some parameter information here.

Overall, we’re impressed with the relative ease of the compilation. Android code is very “portable” and neat.

Maybe we’re lucky to see netbooks running Android already this year, so 2009 would be a very good year for netbooks!

Source: eeepc.itrunsonlinux

The Top 10 Green-Tech Breakthroughs of 2008

Thursday, January 1st, 2009

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Green technology was hot in 2008. Barack Obama won the presidential election promising green jobs to Rust Belt workers. Investors poured $5 billion into the sector just through the first nine months of the year. And even Texas oilmen like T. Boone Pickens started pushing alternative energy as a replacement for fossil fuels like petroleum, coal and natural gas.

But there’s trouble on the horizon. The economy is hovering somewhere between catatonic and hebephrenic, and funding for the big plans that green tech companies laid in 2008 might be a lot harder to come by in 2009. Recessions haven’t always been the best times for environmentally friendly technologies as consumers and corporations cut discretionary spending on ethical premiums.

Still, green technology and its attendant infrastructure are probably the best bet to drag the American economy out of the doldrums. So, with the optimism endemic to the Silicon Valley region, we present you with the Top 10 Green Tech Breakthroughs of 2008, alternatively titled, The Great Green Hope.

  1. Calera’s Green Cement Demo Plant Opens
  2. Project Better Place Finds Homes
  3. Solar Cell Production Gets Big, GIGA (watt) Big
  4. Obama Picks A Green Tech Expert To Head DOE
  5. Solar Thermal Plants Return To The Deserts
  6. Pickens Plan Pushes Power Plays Into American Mainstream
  7. The Catalyst That Could Enable Solar
  8. Green Tech Legislation Gets Real
  9. New Materials Cage Carbon
  10. The Island of The Solar

Read more: Wired

Smart vibration sensor to check rail accidents

Thursday, January 1st, 2009

A SMART vibration sensor with wireless communication for recording and analysing train vibration has been developed in the country.

Alka Dubey and Ashish Verma of Sagar University brought this innovation to light, while presenting their paper at the fourth international Wireless Communication Sensor Networks concluded at Indian Institute of Information Technology-Allahabad (IIIT-A) on Monday (Dec 29).

Dubey said that high speed trains are one of the most impressive developments of the recent years having brought a new degree of comfort for travelers. These trains posed serious accidents because of the high level of vibration, which are generated. Therefore to make the train speed smoother, a smart vibration sensor is developed. It is a self sensation device equipped with recording and wireless communication interface.

Source: Merinews